We’re just over a week away from the summer’s curtain call, Outlook Festival and it promises to be the best edition of the 10-year staple. Music lovers around the world will convene in Pula, Croatia for four days of pumping soundsystem culture and straight vibes, forgetting their worries and getting stuck into the madness that will ensue.
Among the all-star line-up is Capo Lee, the north London spitter whose name has been everywhere in 2017. Starting the year with the Stop Talk EP with Sir Spyro, Capo continues to find the goal, further lending his talents on collaborations with the likes of Faze Miyake, Safone and P Money. The man with the unorthodox flow has never not been winning and the icing on the cake will be a undoubtedly memorable performance at Pula’s Fort Punta Christo.
We sat down with him to talk about his upcoming Outlook set, phone sessions with famous friends and his varied ambitions for the future.
You’ll be performing at Outlook festival this year, what can we expect?
Yes, first time performing at outlook, so expect a high energy performance of the new tracks I’ve released this summer, possible some new ones yet to come out, I have to make it one to remember.
How would you compare performing live to being in the studio? Do you have a preference?
Every time I record a tune I’m always running around the studio gassed thinking how this will sound live and how the people will react!
How much has your upbringing influenced your music?
My upbringing had a big impact, as my mum and dad also uncles have been involved in music, Djing or even Mc’ing live to reggae music. So, I grew up around decks and records which ultimately is what got me involved.
Would you say you have found your own lane in the scene?
I definitely have my own lane and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I like to build a relationship with my supporters; I wouldn’t want everyone listening to me just because I’m affiliated to a certain group or generation. I want to be listened to because you enjoy my sound and the vibe I bring through and through.
I think you have a very distinct lyrical style, but how would you describe it?
A lot of people say I have a distinct flow, to be honest I didn’t really notice until it was highlighted. I was just doing me, then one day I was analyzing how I jump on the beat and it’s really quite strange, but it works. A lot of people say I have an offbeat flow that is on beat, but it works somehow, don’t ask how!
You’ve had an interesting year so far, would you say that everything is going to plan?
Yes, I’ve had an interesting year, I’ve learnt a lot. This was my year of learning and finding what I like to do and make, and I realised that this summer. I’ve tried different sounds and tempos and done quite a few features so it was definitely fun.
How did your relationship with Sir Spyro come about?
We met at a studio, he was in a session with Bloodline and we used to the same engineer [Sean D], and someone said my name and he replied saying: “you’re Capo, your tunes are sick, send me some bits.” So, I started sending him tunes and we just decided to studio together and we became close friends. Half the time we don’t even talk about music when we’re together!
You’ve had a number of big collaborations recently, with Spyro, Safone and P Money, how do you maintain these relationships?
The key to doing features I think, is that you need to have a genuine relationship with the artist, like Nico Lindsay, P Money, Safone, Big Zuu are all my friends; I can call them anytime and we all talk on the phone, so I think that keeps the energies right. So, when we are on a track together it doesn’t ever look or sound forced, it’s always natural.
What kind of state do you think grime will be in five years time?
Grime will be in any state it wants to be in. It should just keep flourishing, stop focusing on the bad press and remember the key thing to why a lot of us are all here is the music. Make that the primary objective, and you can never lose with that formula.
What have been some of the highlights in your career so far?
This summer I’ve had some career highlights, I’ve done quite a few festivals this year, I’ve done a few with Spyro and also Kurupt FM. I’ve flown to a few countries too, such as Germany, Czech Republic and Italy. It’s always a highlight when you travel abroad because it just shows how widespread your work actually is – you never realise until it is there in front of you.
What would you like to achieve before the year closes out?
I would want everyone to say, “CAPO SHUTDOWN OUTLOOK,” that’s a phrase I’d like to hear, that would be the cherry on top of the cake for me. Oh yeah, and a front page cover on Viper Mag, but we will have that discussion on another day!
How far do you see yourself going with music?
I think as long as I keep focused and keep experimenting with sounds and being consistent, I think I could be here for a long time, but that’s down to me. I’m focused and ready, and this is just the start, I promise. I’m not in full gear yet.